SMART Goals -What are They & Why You Need Them

smart goals

If you are someone who has ever worked out in a gym or at home I'm sure you have thought you of some common fitness goals. These include but are not limited too;

  • “I want to tone up.”
  • “I want to lose weight.”
  • “I want to get ripped.”
  • “I want to lose belly fat.”
  • “I need a beach body.”

And and on and on.

All of these are not necessarily bad goals to have for a fitness or exercise program. To be honest even I have thought these phrases too. Personal trainers can get caught in the same mental traps as clients. ūüôā

If you want success with fitness you should always be thinking about SMART goals with your fitness program. What are SMART goals?

SMART Fitness Goals

SMART is an acronym and I'll explain what each S-M-A-R-T letter means;

  • Specific – The fitness goals you set for yourself must be clear and Specific so that you know whether you are making progress. The examples I used that most people say to themselves such as “I want to tone-up.” is not specific enough. A more specific goal would be “I want to tone-up my triceps and biceps.” This is better as you are saying exactly what part of your arms you want to tone-up.
  • Measurable – You need to measure your progress so that you know if you are improving, by how much, and if you need to make adjustments. That means if you are trying to run a mile in say under 10 minutes and you are 12 minutes currently, you will want to track any progress you make. For this Measurable goal you should use some sort of wearable fitness tracker so that you can see how much you are improving your running times. When you know you are improving, and by how much, it will encourage and motivate you.
  • Attainable – You want to set realistic goals for your program. If you set a goal and accomplish it you are much more likely to lead a healthy and fit lifestyle. Way to often people will set completely unattainable goals for what they are trying to accomplish.¬† I know, I see it all the time as a Personal Trainer. I always encourage clients to “think big” since there is nothing wrong with that. However take steps in your physical health and training in small bites. Be ambitious but realistic about where you are in your fitness journey.
  • Relevant – You must set goals that are relevant to your interests, needs, goals, and abilities. Too often I see trainers making clients do exercise activities that are not relevant to a client's priorities. If you are a track athlete doing explosive weight exercises such as Olympic lifts would be ideal. Doing tennis would not be.
  • Time-based – You goal must have a set time for completion. If you just set a goal and don't think about when it is going to happen, you may fall be the wayside of making that goal happen. Evaluate regularly to see if are going to meet the goal. If not you might want to revisit Attainable and see if you set a realistic goal for yourself.

How to set a SMART Goal

Saying, “I want to lose 20 pounds in a week” is not a realistic goal. However saying, “I want to lose 20 pounds of fat in 8 weeks.” is a much more ideal goal and follows SMART principles. This meets the Specific and Time-based part of SMART.

Consider is this at attainable goal? Do you have finals coming up? A big vacation? Can you make time for a home-based or precious time out of your day to go to the gym?

The SMART goal we set and these types of questions will show also make you think about what types of exercises you should be doing to drop that 20 pounds of fat you want to lose.

The next step would be to think about how you would accomplish your goal. Are going to be lifting weights? Cycling? Swimming? Consider how this is going to be measured.

Lifting weights would be an  easy way to measure progress. The more weight you lift over the 8 weeks, you are making progress. The more weight you drop and more your body composition changes the better.

Stay SMART

If you intend on setting up a fitness routine and program for yourself, or if you work with me, I always recommend defining goals. SMART greatly helps with keeping you on track and helping you stay focused on fitness. Remember be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based in your fitness goals.

Setting a SMART fitness goal allows you to be crystal clear about what you are trying to accomplish with a fitness program, why you are doing it, and when it is going to get done.

Have you ever set a fitness goal like the ones I talked about at the beginning of this article? How did that work for you? Have you tried setting a SMART fitness goal? Did that work better?

7 BIG Mistakes you are Making at the Gym

gym

With Spring upon us and just around the corner a lot of people are thinking about getting “in shape.” ¬†Attaining a beach body for Summer is most people's number 1 goal right now.

While you have already won have the battle if you made it to the over to the gym there are similar mistakes I see people make constantly at the gym.  This isn't to say there is a wrong or right way to workout since everyone is different but these actions are not helping you make the fastest gains possible in the shortest amount of time;

  1. Too Much Weight: This is pretty common for people just getting started at the gym.  They are trying to compare themselves to other people around them lifting a lot more weight.  You need to just slow down and not worry about what you are lifiting.  You should focus on a good lifting technique and gradually increase the weight.  Remember, no bodybuilder or the buffest person at the gym started out looking that way.  They had to work at it too.
  2. Using Your Phone: Walk into any gym in the US nowadays and I am sure you will a similar sighting.  People on there smartphones texting, emailing, surfing the web, etc. while working out.  Really people?  If you want to get into optimal shape you shouldn't be on your smartphone doing that.  I know a lot of people use their smartphones to play music but consider leaving it in the locker room (with a lock on the locker of course) instead.  I have an inexpensive Sansa Clip which is small, lightweight, and easy to clip-on to workout clothes.  The Sansa Slip is 4GB which is plenty of space for music or podcasts.  Having just an MP3 player allows me to workout for 45 minutes Р1 hour without worrying about anything else.  If you truly want to shed fat and gain muscle fast you will do it a lot better if that is what you are concentrating on for that period of time.
  3. Fitting to Much into 1 Workout: If you have not been to the gym in awhile but used to be in great shape, don't overdue it.  Just because you used to be able to lift or run a lot does not mean you can now.  Push yourself but don't fit too much into 1 workout session.  You will hurt yourself and possibly end up not wanting to go back to the gym.  Try to make workout sessions short but highly efficient and effective.  Remember you can always come back to the gym
  4. Comparing Yourself to Others: Don't worry about the biggest or fittest people in the gym.  Like I said before they didn't start out that way and you shouldn't expect to start out that way either.
  5. Wrong Technique: It is quite common to see people doing the wrong techniques even if the are experienced gym rats.  If you do the wrong lifting or exercise techniques you won't get the most of your workouts.  If you think you are doing something wrong try to go with a friend or hire a personal trainer for a few sessions to iron our your kinks.
  6. Not Stretching: This goes into number 5.  It is ideal to stretch before, during, and after when you are lifting weights.  A lot of people don't but that doesn't mean you shouldn't.  Stretching will enable your muscles to recover faster and keep your body limber.
  7. Not Drinking Water: Make sure to include a water bottle in you gym bag and stay hydrated during your workouts.  This will make your workouts more effective and keep your muscles moving.  It is best to take small sips of water between sets.

I don't claim to be a fitness expert or gym rat but I hope you have found this helpful.  If you agree or disagree with this list please let me know and leave a comment below.  If you know a friend or family member could benefit from my list and advice, please share.

Omron HJ-112 Pedometer Review

omron hj-112 pedometer

It's no secret, you already have broken your New Year's resolution and losing that 20 pounds seems like it is not going to happen now. Right? The solution to keep that New Year's Resolution weight loss goal is simple though, an Omron HJ-112 Pedometer.

Most people, especially in today's stagnate office world, don't realize how little we actually move around during the day. Do you know how many steps you take everyday? Do you think you get in 10,000 steps? In case you didn't know that is the recommend amount of walking for an average healthy person.

When I originally got my Omron HJ-112 Pedometer as gift, I was pleased with the gift. (Unlike how some people would be.) I thought I would come somewhat close to that 10,000 step (3-4 mile) recommend minimum. Wrong, very wrong! Do you know how many steps I was taking everyday? I was walking about 3000-5000 steps a day, which is less than half the amount of walking I should have been doing. The most embarrassing part about it is that I have two dogs, Cody and Sierra, and I have to take walks with them everyday. (They are singing dogs in case you didn't know.)

A pedometer can really put things into perspective for you and make it so that you want to start moving around to reach that 10,000 step goal. Now that I have the Omron HJ-112 Pedometer strapped to me at all times, I sometimes walk when I would have driven, and walk around a little more just to walk. Sounds kind of crazy, but a pedometer makes you want to walk more. As I am writing this review I have over 15,000 steps on my Omron HJ-112 pedometer, which isn't bad at all. (I did take the pedometer running with me today, but in my opinion that still counts.)

The Omron HJ-112 Pedometer has a 7-day backlog, which makes it easy to track your progress. One feature that some might like, or not, is the fact that Omron automatically resets at midnight. This can be annoying are still up past midnight and want to keep tracking your progress. It also tracks aerobic steps which I assumes means running, miles, and calories burned if you want to know those numbers as well.

There have been a few times I have wondered how accurate the Omron is as some days I believed I have done quite a lot of walking, but don't feel the step counts reflected that. Something to keep in mind is the Omron Pedometer must be kept in a vertical position to track your steps. If it is too much on a horizontal axis it won't record steps. I usually try to keep the pedometer in my pocket upright at all times though so I don't know why this would be happening.

Setting up the Omron HJ-112 Pedometer is a bit tricky. I recommend reading the instructions carefully before you try to set the pedometer up. This way you won't get confused. I would also suggest not using the crappy ‚Äúmini-screwdriver‚ÄĚ that comes with it. I used a small screwdriver set we already had. Also it is helpful to have another person or friend help you calculate your stride length. You can try to do it on your own by using a cup or other object to mark of where you started your stride, but it's a bit difficult. I also recommend measuring a few times to make sure your stride length is accurate.

This video should help you setup the Omron HJ-112 Pedometer

Sometimes it is difficult to remember to put the Omron Pedometer on, and you do not get steps recorded.

If you want to keep your weight lose goals without killing yourself or going on a crazy diet, I would highly recommended buying the Omron HJ-112 Pedometer. Having the Omron pedometer has helped me get a lot more walking in everyday than I would have. My whole family now has Omron Pedometers and we are all getting more walking in. Even if I can't meet the 10,000 goal, I still try to make sure I get somewhat close to that number like 8,000 or so.